Predatory Acts

Jane Davitt

Part Four

Spike hesitated, one hand on the door, the other gripping Xander’s shirt. It had taken him a while to dress Xander and he’d had time to reconsider his initial strategy. That was a rarity for Spike. He tended to make a plan and execute it without second thoughts. If the plan didn’t work he made another. Eventually the problem went away, usually because everyone who had been a problem was dead.  It was messy, but effective.

He had been going to offer Xander to the Master; the perfect lure for the Slayer. In return, he wanted the use of Dalton for a while. Dalton, a thin, balding vampire who looked meekly at the world through old fashioned glasses, would have been dust decades ago were it not for his skills in translating arcane texts and doing research into prophecies and portents. He was invaluable but the Master owned him. Only a prize like a Slayer would persuade him to release Dalton from his task of looking for ways to free the Master and look for a cure for Drusilla instead.

That idea was still a good one but it would end with Xander’s inevitable death and Spike wasn’t sure he wanted that. He remembered Xander’s face as he bent to lick the blood from his hand, intent and serious, and his fist clenched in a reflexive spasm, as it had done around the boy’s neck. He wasn’t done with Xander. He wanted to see him fight the hyena until it was under his control; he’d sensed that it wasn’t, not yet. He wanted to tame the animal without breaking the boy and enjoy them both. As a human, he’d been denied a lot of his dreams, as a vampire, never. Eternity could get dull and Xander would be entertaining for a while.

He thought about turning him, wondering what he would be like as a vampire, and then shrugged. Xander already had the blood lust, the cruelty and an alien soul. What would be the point? Besides, an ally who could move around in the sunlight would be useful. Dru probably wouldn’t mind. She might take one of her fancies to him – Spike’s thoughts broke off abruptly. The Slayer. He didn’t know her, and he’d never heard of a Slayer having people close to her before, but if the boy was telling the truth, this Slayer might not abandon him, even after what had happened. Or she’d hunt him down and kill him fast out of kindness. That was about as kind as a Slayer got to a demon.

Spike sighed, leaning his head against the wall and resisting the urge to bang it hard against the plaster. It was getting complicated. “All I wanted was a bloody shag,” he muttered. “This stupid, fucking town. People turning into hyenas, Slayers getting pally with the plebs, politicians who’ve sold their souls – well, maybe that’s not just in Sunnydale.”

Xander stirred restlessly and Spike drew back his foot, intending to kick him back into unconsciousness but found he couldn’t. The boy looked so helpless. Xander moved again, his eyes opening slowly. He squinted up at Spike and held out his hand in a wordless request to be pulled to his feet. Spike took it, feeling a tingle as their palms met, and hauled Xander up. Xander was heavier than he expected and his weight pulled Spike off balance. With a snarling smile, Xander ploughed his fist into Spike’s stomach, doubling him over.

“Bloody hell!” said Spike, staggering backwards. “Mate, listen –”

“You betrayed me,” Xander said, each word weighed down with hurt and disillusionment. “We were pack and you were going to –”

“I was going to use you to save the woman I’ve loved for five times longer than you’ve been sucking in air. Don’t expect me to feel guilty about that.” Spike’s face was so still now that it reminded Xander of an action figure; perfect, plastic, dead.

Xander shook for a moment, trembling with reaction. Spike stepped towards him, his open hand extended. To Xander the hand seemed to waver as though a heat haze surrounded it. Silly. It was a cold hand, a dead hand. His eyes moved upwards and met Spike’s. Those eyes weren’t dead. There was pain in their depths, an ineffable weariness.  Even human, Xander would have been uncomfortable with the charged emotions sparking in the air. As he was, he took refuge in the cruelty that ran through him as a pattern runs through fabric. He laughed in the vampire’s face, watching the pain vanish as anger replaced it. Anger he could deal with.

“They’re coming for me,” he said. “Once you hurt me, they knew. They’ll be here soon.”

Spike sneered. “Your little puppy pals don’t scare me. What are they going to do, piss on my shoe?”

Xander’s eyes were distant now, as though he were listening to something far away. He turned, pulled open the door and ran up the short flight of stairs to the back street. Standing in the open, he threw back his head and howled a shrieking, arrogant cry to his pack. Spike cursed, locking the door to buy some time. Five humans he could have handled. Five humans with Xander’s ruthless strength might be a handful. Moving quickly, he kicked the bed aside, lifted the trap door leading to the sewers and disappeared into their noisome depths.

Never sleep where there’s only one exit, especially if it only leads to the outdoors. Good rule for a vampire and one that had saved him more than once. “But you better watch your back, Xander,” he muttered as he twitched his long coat out of the way of a patch of dripping mould. “You owe me and I don’t plan to forget it.”

He hesitated at the junction of three tunnels, getting his bearings, and then strode off. Time to call in some favours.


Xander’s pack mates found him soon. They surrounded him, fingering his bruises, making little whimpering noises of comfort, easing his sadness. They went with him to Spike’s room but they could tell that it was empty before they broke down the door. The scent of sex lay heavy in the air and they looked suspiciously at Xander. With a new found certainty he ordered them to leave, to go home, and to meet him at school the next day. They protested, but he was adamant.

School was where Buffy would be.

Wednesday Night.

The spell was broken and Xander felt the hyena spirit leave him. He staggered, silently screaming in pain at what he had lost. Memories flooded back, this time unfiltered through an alien intelligence. He fell to his knees.

“Xander! Are you hurt?” Willow exclaimed, ignoring the fact that she’d just come within moments of having her throat cut.

Xander’s lie was instinctive. “I don’t remember...what are we doing here? Is the trip over?”

Willow looked at Buffy and Giles, swallowing. She laid a soft hand on his. “It’s over,” she said. “W-we can fill you in on what’s happened later. It’s all over now.”

He let them lead him away, listened to their story with artfully raised eyebrows and gaping mouth, apologised profusely to Buffy and was forgiven – and avoided Giles’ ironic but sympathetic looks. Giles knew but he wouldn’t tell. He understood that it hadn’t been Xander who did all those things.

It was all over.

Thursday Night

Xander waved goodbye to Willow and Buffy and walked away towards his house. It had been good to go to the Bronze, get back to normal. There had been a few odd glances from people he’d insulted, girls who didn’t understand how he’d gone from loser to sexy and back again but the Hellmouth factor was kicking in. Flutie’s death was the big news and he wasn’t involved in that. He had a lot to think about but that was one memory that he didn’t have playing over in his head in full technicolour. He had three others to haunt him instead.

That woman in the alley. He gritted his teeth, swallowing. He would not throw up again. The taste had gone, drowned by mouthwash and gum. His hands were clean. He hadn’t killed her...the vampire had. He refused to think about that, moving on to the second memory.

Trying to rape Buffy. Watching the fear in her eyes, then getting comprehensively beaten up by her. A Slayer was tough. He’d never realised quite how tough before. It meant that any chance he’d had with Buffy had just gone out the window but at least he hadn’t done more than scare her. It wasn’t as if they’d had sex...which brought him back to the vampire again.

Memory three was the worst. it shouldn’t have been. Eating human flesh, trying to rape someone; they should have ranked higher on the guilt meter than sex. Even if it was with a vampire. “I am not gay,” he muttered. “I went right out there and tried to rape Buffy. That proves that I’m – the biggest jerk in history.”

He sighed. He hadn’t been lying entirely when he said he couldn’t remember. The memories were there and the guilt was intense but they seemed far away, like the recollection of a dream. They were fading and he took comfort in that. He’d been possessed. Happened all the time. Not his fault. Could have happened to anyone and it would have been just the same. No way to fight back.

“I would get possessed by a gay hyena,” he said aloud.

The figure following him shook with silent laughter. Spike was close enough to hear Xander’s soliloquy. The demon he’d paid to follow the boy in the daylight had passed on the news that the possession had ended, much to his annoyance, but he decided he wanted to see how the lad was taking it.

Xander was almost at his house when an arm snaked around his neck and a voice whispered teasingly in his ear. “Did you miss me, pet?”

Spike’s hand wandered down Xander’s chest to his jeans, fingers tracing the outline of his cock.

“I see you did.”

Part Five

Xander stood as still as if the hand lazily tickling him was a tarantula. Huskily, his voice emerging in a tense whisper, he said, “Back off.”

The hand continued to roam, the arm around his neck tightened. Xander closed his eyes and prepared to die. He’d have to fight first of course, but he didn’t have much doubt about the outcome. Before a strategy could even form in his mind, Spike delicately nipped at his neck and he moaned softly, goose bumps springing up on that side of his body. Spike chuckled, satisfied, and released him. “Still fancy me then. Good. It’ll make it easier on you.”

Xander turned around and glared at Spike. “I’m not even going to ask what you mean by that because it’s disturbing enough without the details.”

Spike considered him for a moment, standing relaxed with his hands in his coat pockets, just a friendly neighborhood vampire out for a stroll. “Does this mean it’s all over between us now you’re human again? I’m deeply hurt.”

Xander felt his hands curl into fists, nails digging deeply into his palms. “You seem to know I’m not possessed anymore. You can’t think I’m still interested in doing anything but stake you.” Spike’s eyebrows rose in an eloquent commentary on just how that could be interpreted and Xander flushed. “With a wooden stake. Through the heart. So you turn to dust,” he clarified.

Spike pouted, the full lower lip pushing out. He looked wistful but his eyes were full of deviltry, brimming over with mockery. “That how you treat all your dates? No wonder you were so...pure.”

Xander’s fist lashed out and swept through air. Spike had simply faded backwards, avoiding the blow easily. Xander stumbled and caught his foot, falling forward. Spike let him fall, looking down at the sprawled figure with detached amusement. He didn’t offer Xander a hand this time and Xander struggled to his feet, rubbing a bruised knee with a grazed hand.

Spike’s nostrils flared and Xander found himself wondering if the vampire could tell that his palms were bleeding slightly. That was creepy.

“I’m leaving town tomorrow night,” Spike said abruptly. “Got what I came for and I’m going back to get Dru ready for the journey.”

Despite himself, Xander was curious. He remembered Spike rambling on about his girlfriend being sick but to his possessed mind it had seemed unimportant and he’d tuned out a lot of it. “You’ve got some medicine or something?”

Spike shrugged. “Not exactly. Got a few leads on what she’ll need but nothing definite yet. No, what I really wanted was to know I could bring her here safely. Seems she’ll heal better here. Might be all she needs. A holiday on the Hellmouth.” His voice broke slightly as he mentioned Drusilla but he recovered his poise at once. “The Master can be a funny bugger sometimes. Took a bit of slaughter to get him smiling but I can be very charming when I want.” He smiled at Xander, inviting agreement. “Can’t I?”

Xander swallowed. Spike’s voice was affecting him as much as it had done before. Images flashed through his mind: pale limbs splayed out against the dark blue sheets, blue eyes misted over with tears, a damp towel rubbing fleeting warmth into a cool body... “Yes,” he said honestly. “But I’m guessing ninety percent of the time you can’t be bothered.”

Spike grinned. “Maybe. Aren’t you curious who I slaughtered?”

Sickness spread through Xander and any arousal he’d felt fled in the face of the reminder that he had shared more than sex with Spike. They’d done lunch.

Spike cocked his head to the side, watching the emotions flicker over Xander’s face like cloud shadows over grass. “Might have been your hyena pals. They left enough scent behind in my room for me to know them, track them down.” Xander’s eyes flickered with a shamed relief. His four pack mates hadn’t been in school but he’d assumed the police had them. That was one of the first lessons you learned in Sunnydale. You didn’t talk about the ones who went missing. Did he want them to be dead so that no one would find out that he could remember what happened? Was he really that selfish? “Or it could have been one of your other friends.”

Xander stepped forward and shoved Spike roughly. “Tell me. Stop playing games.”

Spike laughed at him. “Don’t worry, they were minions. Thinned the herd a bit. Did him a favour. He gets bored of the same old faces. Unless they’re as good looking as mine, of course.”

“You really do think you’re something, don’t you?”

“Yes.” The word ‘duh’ hung unspoken in the air.

Silence fell and Xander wondered what to do. Back away slowly and run home, where he’d be safe? He frantically tried to remember if he’d ever said anything to Spike that qualified as an invitation home. “So - you’re happy, I’m human again, let’s just forget you played with your food and I promise never to mention it either.”

Spike studied him. “You can’t forget it, can you?” he said quietly.

“Well, it’s only been a day. I think parts are fading though. In fact there’s one school of thought that says you lose all memories of times when you’re possessed. I think it’s worth considering, taking on board-”

“No. You don’t forget your first taste of blood. Ever.”

Xander looked at him. A car went by, the engine noise fading away and leaving them locked in silence again on the empty street. “It’s not the blood I’m having trouble forgetting,” he said, the words pulled from him.

Spike’s eyes widened. “Go on,” he said, his voice calm and reassuring. It had the opposite effect. Xander felt bewildered at the sudden change from flippancy to sympathy and was about to take refuge in a joke when he saw the tension along the line of Spike’ jaw. The vampire was nervous?

“What we did was, I mean it wasn’t what I expected. I like girls. I’m not –”

“Oh, spare me!” Spike said. “Do I look like a therapist or a friendly bloody ear?”


“What do I look like?” Spike demanded, grabbing Xander and pulling him towards him in one violent, possessive movement.

Xander was so close he couldn’t see anything but Spike’s eyes. With a doomed feeling, he told the truth again. It was getting to be a really bad habit. It brought him nothing but trouble. “My worst nightmare.”

Spike chuckled. “That’ll do.”

He didn’t even have to move to kiss Xander. Somehow the gap between their lips was so small that when Xander opened his lips to reply, he brushed against Spike’s mouth. Instant lust. Knee buckling, intense, crippling lust. Xander felt it pour over him as though someone had a bucket of the stuff poised above his head. His brain was drenched in it, losing all ability to think coherently. His hands were soaked in it, grabbing at clothing, pulling and tugging, trying to reach that cool, hard body. His cock got what was left, absorbing it, springing to life, quivering and eager.

Spike pulled back his head, hissing with frustration. “Why is it always outside when you come on to me?”

Xander felt the exhilaration recede and sanity creep in. Spike saw his expression change and shook his head. “No. Not again. You come with me and we finish this tonight.”

“I can’t. Not with you. Not with a vampire.”

Spike’s hand reached down between them and caressed Xander’s erection. “Want to have regrets for something you did instead of something you missed?”

“Prefer to have no regrets at all, really,” Xander gasped.

“I can do that too,” Spike said casually.

“Huh?” Spike moved away a little and hauled something small and glittery out of his pocket. It looked like a silver marble. “What’s that?”

“Memory charm. Set for me. Got it today from someone who owes me from the last time I was in town.”

Xander frowned, intrigued. “What does it do?” he asked.

Spike smiled slowly, watching Xander’s face for a hint of his feelings. “Once it’s activated it’ll wipe out any memory of me. You’ll lose from the time we met in the alley to when you left the room and from just now to whenever we’re finished.”

Xander shook his head. “That’s impossible,” he said, certainty in his voice.

“No, just magic. Pretty fancy magic though. A memory spell - that’s simple. Specific memories though - that’s harder. Cost me.”

“You said you called in a favour.” Xander objected.

Spike pushed up the sleeve on his coat, exposing a curved symbol carved deeply into the flesh. “The spell needed to know who I was to work,” he explained. “Needed my blood.”

Xander shuddered. Even for a vampire that had to have hurt. His thoughts raced. He was tempted by Spike – no point in denying that - and his hyena experiences were too close for him not to feel drawn to gratifying his desires rather than ignoring them. The thought of losing the memory of feeding on human flesh was a definite plus. He stood thinking as Spike sighed impatiently and then nodded, not meeting the vampire’s eyes. “I’ll do it.”

The words slipped out easily, catching him by surprise. He seemed to have lost his caution and his fear of consequences. He wondered if the spell to reverse the possession had really worked. This wasn’t like him. He was Xander, vampire hater. It was burned into him the first time he’d seen one of the creatures and seen what they could do. They were cockroaches and he was friends with the exterminator.

Then he looked at the vampire in front of him and the scared hatred fell away, leaving only the fascination and the hungry desire.

Spike tossed him the charm. “Here. You keep it. Just need to activate it when you’ve had enough and I’m out of sight.”

Xander looked at him in surprise. He’d expected Spike to hold on to it as a way of keeping him under his control. Then he remembered how Spike had stopped himself in the bathroom. The memory steadied him. He didn’t trust the vampire, not really, but he didn’t fear him either. Maybe that wasn’t a good thing.

“Activate it how?”

“Swallow it.”

“I’m not swallowing it! It could be poison or something,” Xander protested.

Spike grinned. “Don’t worry. I had them make it cherry flavour just for you.”

Part Six

It didn’t take long to walk to Spike’s room. Nowhere in Sunnydale was far from anywhere else. Xander might have wished the walk took longer, but the silence that had fallen as they moved away from his house was so nerve wracking that he found himself hurrying instead. The route took them to a part of the town that he didn’t know well. Alleyways that seemed to be dead ends turned out to have small openings, leading into a labyrinth of narrow streets with doors that did their best to look like part of the walls. Not many windows. The last time he’d come here he’d been so overwhelmed by his first taste of blood that he hadn’t really paid attention. His instincts had carried him out of the maze safely then but he wasn’t sure he could retrace his steps as a human.

Shadows and faint noises combined to make him on edge. He sensed that as they walked people were moving out of their path only to reappear behind them, tracking them as though Spike were the Pied Piper. He wanted to turn around but the first time he tried, Spike’s hand shot out, gripping his arm. “Never look back,” he said. “It doesn’t help, believe me.”

The shadowy entourage melted away as they reached the steps leading down to Spike’s room and Xander sighed with relief. Spike looked at him curiously. “Don’t come here much, then?”

Xander shook his head. “I’ve lived here all my life and never realised the truth until I met Buffy.”

“What’s that then?”

Xander looked at him. “The demons are at the heart of this town. It’s theirs, isn’t it?”

Spike shrugged. “It’s on the Hellmouth. What did you expect?”

He opened the door and Xander walked inside for the third time. An old saying flashed across his mind. Third time’s the charm.

He pushed the door closed and turned to face Spike. The vampire had shed his coat, throwing it carelessly across a chair. He stood, relaxed and confident, a smile tugging his lips upwards. Xander watched him suspiciously. “Relax, mate,” Spike drawled. “Got my word I won’t hurt you.”

“Pity you didn’t give me that last time,” said Xander.

The smile vanished and Spike looked almost troubled. He walked to Xander, slid his hands under the collar of his shirt and then began to unbutton it. Xander stood still as Spike slipped the shirt back over his shoulders and down his arms, gathering it in one hand and tossing it aside. Spike’s eyes travelled slowly over Xander’s chest and arms and then he walked around to study Xander’s back. Xander bit his lip as he felt fingers trail gently across his skin, following the livid bruises that he had glimpsed in the mirror but had been too sore to twist enough to see properly.

“Did I do these?” Spike asked, his tone neutral.

Xander turned to face him. “No. Well, some, maybe. Mostly below the waist are from you. The ones you can see are mainly from Buffy.”

“The Slayer hit you? Why? Thought you were mates.”

Xander met his eyes. “We are. That’s why when I tried to rape her she let me live.”

Spike looked startled and then nodded understandingly. “When you were still possessed.” Xander didn’t bother answering. “She’s a forgiving type for a Slayer. You can count yourself lucky.”

Xander’s voice was bitter. “Oh, I do, believe me.”

Spike pursed his lips. “Time grows short. Do you want to talk yourself into tears or fuck until you scream for more?”

Xander gaped at him, struck by the brutal simplicity of the question. “I want to ...” His voice faded, unable to form the words and give them substance, and his eyes pleaded for help.

Spike waited in silence and then seemed to relent. “Tell you what,” he said. “I wouldn’t let you stay in cuffs before but this time I’ll help you out.”

“Y-you’re going to tie me up?” Xander asked, his voice blending fear and fascination in equal quantities.

Spike shook his head. “No need.” He took Xander’s face between his hands and kissed him, a searching, lingering kiss that left Xander gasping. Spike pulled away and laid a finger on Xander’s warm mouth, tracing the outline of his lips, dragging his cool finger across the moist skin. “Sshh...” he said. “No more words until I say you can speak. You can moan, you can whimper, you can cry out, you can scream, but no words. Do you understand?” Xander nodded. “Good boy. See; now you can’t argue or persuade me not to do what I’m going to do. It’ll all be the fault of the nasty, evil vampire.”

Xander heard the faint disappointment lurking behind the mockery and wanted to say something, take back the responsibility for his actions, follow through for once in his life. Loathing at his own cowardice swept through him and he looked up, only to see Spike’s knowing eyes. He had been tricked into guilty obedience as a punishment for wavering. Anger, hot and raw, replaced his self loathing.

“Don’t be like that,” said Spike. “Any time you want to stop being a wuss, you know what to do. You’ll have to take the consequences of course.” He shook his head, like a dog shaking off rainwater, and his vampire face emerged. “Do I need to spell them out?”

Xander found that his teeth were clenched so hard together to stop the words from pouring out that his jaw was aching.

“Enough. I want you naked by the time I am. Don’t make me wait.” Spike’s voice was easy, even friendly, and his face was human again, but Xander didn’t trust either tone or appearance. He reached for his belt buckle and then hesitated. Spike had skinned off his T shirt in one shrugging movement, not hurrying but not lingering either. He sat down on the bed and reached down to undo his boots, giving Xander a curious upward glance as the boy stood unmoving. Xander swallowed. Moving slowly he walked towards Spike, fell to his knees and brushed Spike’s hands away, taking over the task of unfastening his boots.

“You do that and I’ll beat you,” Spike murmured, managing to cram more alternate meanings into seven words than Xander had ever thought possible.

Ignoring him, Xander pulled off first one boot and then the other, placing them neatly to the side. Spike’s bare feet were like the rest of his body; elegant and fined down. He sat back and pushed himself up, watching as Spike copied him. They unbuckled belts, eased down zippers and stepped out of jeans. Spike stood naked; Xander had managed to pull his shorts down with his jeans but still had socks on. Spike began to count aloud and panic, unreasoning and terrifying, tore through Xander as he stood awkwardly on first one foot and then the other, trying to yank off his socks. It wasn’t dignified but he managed it as Spike reached nine.

“Going to make you wish you hadn’t done that,” said Spike, coming so close as he spoke into Xander’s ear that the words themselves reached out to tickle against his skin. “Nine...that’s a lot. Brace yourself.”

He took Xander’s arms and pushed them back, making him lock his hands together in the hollow of his spine. “Don’t move. Not even a little bit.”

Xander closed his eyes, waiting for the blows, the pain. He was hard but he had been since the door closed and locked him in with Spike. “Eyes open, love. You can give me that much at least.” The voice flicked at him, stinging and goading. Xander wasn’t sure how Spike had known that his eyes were closed but he opened them obediently and stared ahead through tear –blurred eyes. Spike appeared in front of him, startling him. He frowned, puzzled, and then gasped as Spike knelt and cupped his balls in one hand, the other gripping the base of his cock firmly. Xander felt exposed and vulnerable and unbearably aroused all at once. Spike leaned forward and began to lick the head of Xander’s cock, gentle, smooth licks that covered every square centimetre with agonising precision. Nine licks, the last one with Spike’s tongue darting inside the slit of the head, making Xander’s hips thrust forward helplessly. The touch was too tightly focused to be anything other than tantalising. It left Xander so hard it hurt. Spike stood, his face absorbed, and leaned in to kiss Xander’s mouth, that clever tongue flickering against his in a deliberate echo of his previous action. Spike’s arms were around him now, his hands roving, roaming, reaching out. Xander ached with the need to touch him back but kept his hands in place, determined not to let Spike win.

They stood like that for endless minutes, Xander a living statue, motionless, unable to respond with anything but his parted lips. Spike rarely kissed them, lavishing his attentions on every part of Xander’s body but his mouth, standing or stooping, kissing each bruise and scratch, licking and biting, scratching softly until Xander’s body was alive with sensation, screaming out with need.

“And that was nine minutes,” said Spike suddenly. “You did well, pet.”

The praise and the affectionate tone were as painful as the blows would have been. Trembling with reaction, Xander bent his head down, the tears beginning to fall. Spike’s hand slid under his chin and raised his head. “Move now,” he said. “And talk if you like.”

“You manipulative bastard!” Xander screamed, bringing his fists around to slam into Spike’s body. Spike let them land on him, wrapping his arms around Xander in an unbreakable embrace. Xander tried to push him away, failed, tried to carry on punching him and couldn’t. They stood for a moment and then the rage ebbed and Xander kissed Spike as he had done in the street, with open, avid lips.

They landed on the bed, in a tangle, desperately trying to have as little space between them as possible, legs scissored, arms pulling each other together so tightly that they couldn’t move or caress, could only kiss until they tasted the same. The kisses moved from frantic to feather light and the grips loosened, letting them fall apart like paper peeled from a candy bar.

They were both hard, their cocks touching as they shifted position, the slight friction almost too much for Xander. Spike, with over a century of lessons in control at his back, couldn’t resist teasing him, running a finger slowly from root to tip and then wrapping his hand around its length, squeezing it firmly before flexing his wrist up and down with a languid, practised motion. Xander’s head went back and he made a sound too visceral to be coherent. “Do that again and I won’t be able to –”

Spike wriggled down the bed, did it again with his tongue in just the right place and dealt with the result without spilling a drop.

“,” complained Xander in a breathless whisper.

Spike shrugged. “Want to bet I can’t get you hard again?”

“No. I don’t bet on certainties. My Uncle Rory taught me that.”

“Clever man.” Spike murmured, kissing his way back up until his face was level with Xander’s. “In the minute or two until you’re ready to go again, suppose we think about me? If I remember last time, you owe me.”  His eyes flashed from summer sky to setting sun so quickly that Xander blinked in confusion.

Guilt swamped pleasure and he nodded. “I was going to make a very predictable joke about giving you a helping hand but I’ll make that a little more –” He hesitated, lost for words, and then said simply, “Any way you want it, Spike. You choose.”

Spike growled and changed, the demon fighting its way to the surface. “You sure about that, Xander?”

Xander kept his eyes open and his face calm as he leaned forward to kiss the fanged mouth. Spike waited until he was sure Xander wasn’t going to flinch and let the vampire face sink back. Xander paused then and whispered, “Why did you do that? I would have done it.”

“That’s why,” said Spike. “Oh, there’re plenty of humans who get a kick out of doing it with us in game face the whole time but I don’t figure you for one. Just don’t forget, Xander. Don’t trust me.”

“Choose,” Xander said flatly, ignoring the warning.

Spike studied him for one long moment and then nodded. He twisted around and opened the drawer in the table by the bed, pulling out a tube. Xander guessed what it was and tensed without thinking. Spike paused and raised an eyebrow. “Second thoughts?”

“About a hundred but don’t let that stop you. Really.”

Spike tossed the tube to Xander. “Then you go first and see how it’s done.”

Xander weighed the tube in his hand, not meeting Spike’s eyes. He flicked the top and squeezed a little out onto his fingers, rubbing them together experimentally. Raising his fingers to his nose, he sniffed and then examined the tube again. “’Wild Cherry?” he asked incredulously. “Have you ever heard the saying, ‘funny once’?”

Spike grinned. “I’ll move you up to chocolate raspberry if you like.”

Xander shook his head in disbelief, closed the tube and pushed Spike onto his back. He found that what he had on his fingers was enough to cover Spike’s cock. “I meant you could have me first, you know. Or do you need a refresher course in what goes where?” asked Spike, watching Xander’s fingers sliding over his erection and shuddering slightly with need.

“Nope,” Xander replied, flicking open the tube and handing it to Spike again. “But I think I’ll let you take it from here.”

Spike shrugged. He’d given Xander enough chances and he was too aroused to stop now. Xander swallowed and rolled onto his stomach, spreading his legs slightly. Spike looked at him with a lust that would have terrified Xander if he’d seen it and slipped a slick finger into Xander, gently, carefully until Xander’s legs were wider and his back arching into the bed. When he had taken three fingers, Spike paused. Xander was as ready as he would ever be but he didn’t know whether to leave him like this or give himself the pleasure of watching Xander’s face as he took him. Xander moaned and Spike’s control snapped. Before Xander had chance to panic, Spike had pushed against his opening and slid home in a series of gentle but forceful nudges. Xander cried out but Spike knew what pain sounded like and this wasn’t it. Biting his lip, he rocked slightly, feeling Xander clench around him. He began to move, a series of long, slow thrusts that had Xander’s hands clutching at the sheets as the sensation stopped being an intrusion and became pure pleasure. Spike’s movements increased in speed, his hands on Xander’s hips, holding him still, not letting him push back. “Take it,” he said, “Take it like I did.”

Xander’s eyes were squeezed shut, his world shrunk to the bed, the feel of the bunched up sheets in his fists, against his knees, the nails digging into his flesh and the relentless presence within him. He was sharing his body with someone else and for a moment he wasn’t lonely or left out.  He heard a mewling sound and recognised, dimly, that it came from him. Spike’s hand slapped against his backside, stinging and sharp. “Now you can move. Show me what you’ve got, pet. Scream for me.”

One last surge of defiance as his body responded. “Make me,” Xander panted.

“Well, since you asked so nicely –”

Part Seven

The early morning sun illuminated Sunnydale and Xander stirred, the drowsiness that had held him motionless for hours sliding off him, leaving him chilled and exposed. He was lying sprawled across the bed, his leg hooked over Spike’s and one hand resting on his chest. His hand lay shielding the place Buffy would aim for and the thought made him feel both protective and guilty. Pushing the confusion aside, he squinted at a clock on the bedside table. He had a few hours before school. He really had to go home and pretend that he’d got in late, rather than not at all. He wondered sourly if his parents had even noticed that he was missing.

Spike lay sleeping, his face turned away from Xander, the sheets, so dark against his candle-pale body, pulled up to his waist. Even looking at him made Xander feel a baffled, aching longing. He was exhausted, his body a living record of the hours of sometimes brutal sex, but he knew that if Spike turned and reached out his hand, his body would rouse and respond.

It was the most frightening thought he’d ever had.

He wanted to wash, to eat, to brush his teeth, to restore normality to his world. He’d showered in the night but it hadn’t been quite the same. He’d never showered lying down in a wide, long tub, being teased and tickled by a judiciously aimed jet of water. It had turned into a bath, with Spike tipping in a generous dollop of bath gel that foamed up and over the sides of the bath. Spike, covered in bubbles, with his sleek hair spiked up by Xander’s fingers, had looked so human, so young...then Xander had thoughtlessly told him to look in the mirror and his face had hardened as he cupped his hands in the water and smoothed his hair down again.

Xander had done things he’d never heard of during the dark hours, had used his hands, mouth and ass to give Spike pleasure and taken satisfaction in every gasp and moan he’d forced past those cool lips. He’d been guided and instructed by someone incapable of shame, skilled and unpredictable. Spike had shown him what a thousand fevered dreams had only hinted at, shown him with a lack of self consciousness that had drawn and demanded the same from Xander.

He had hurt Xander sometimes, forgetting that the body writhing beneath him was human, not vampire. His body was mottled with small dark bruises left by Spike’s finger tips. Only once, though, had Spike hurt him deliberately, when Xander, goaded by Spike’s sulky silence after they left the bathroom, had mentioned Drusilla. Spike had turned on him, game face on and bent Xander backwards, his fangs at his throat. He had kept him like that, lying face up across his knee, painfully arched, one arm holding him pinned, the needle pointed teeth grazing his flesh, kept him while his free hand worked Xander’s cock mercilessly, forcing it to respond. When Xander had come finally, Spike taking care that none of it touched him, he had been pushed contemptuously to the floor. Spike had stalked to the bed and flung himself down, his face expressionless.

Xander had returned to the bathroom, cleaned up the splatters of come from his body and leaned against the basin, breathing slowly. Then he filled up a jug with icy water, walked over to the bed and tipped it over Spike. The sight of Spike leaping to his feet, outrage and disbelief making him splutter incoherently had been enough to make Xander giggle helplessly. Spike was restrained from biting him, less because of his promise, more because – well, once couldn’t eat someone when they were laughing so hard the tears were rolling down their face. Just wouldn’t feel right. He settled for giving Xander rug burns and then making him strip and remake the bed.

Now it was over. Xander eased himself free of Spike and went into the bathroom. When he came out, Spike was sitting up, looking sleepy and with a hint of wariness in his eyes. Xander nodded to him and picked up his clothes, getting dressed quickly. Spike watched him cover up the body he’d explored so thoroughly and did nothing to stop him.

Xander couldn’t just walk out into the sunlight without saying something but looking at the silent watcher made his mind narrow down to a single thought and somehow he knew that if he voiced it he would never leave.

“I –have to go now,” he said finally. “I wish –”

“No, you don’t,” said Spike. “You were fun but it’s over. Push off now, O.K?”

The bored disinterest in his voice slashed Xander bone deep, driving him speechless from the room and into the dazzle of daylight, allowing him to find his way through the empty streets with eyes too aching with tiredness and unshed tears to pay attention to his surroundings. Without thinking about it, he made his way home, stumbling up the stairs to his room and falling forward onto his unmade bed. The sheets smelled musty and stale as he used them to soak up the tears that had lost patience with waiting to be shed. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d cried but he thought it had been for much the same reason – a sense of bewildered loss. Oh, yes. His father had given away his pet rabbit, letting him come home from school to find the empty hutch on the sidewalk waiting for the garbage men. His frantic sobbing had earned him a slap from his father and an impatient, fleeting hug from his mother. He hadn’t bothered to cry again after that.

Rolling over onto his back, Xander stared up at the ceiling, the tears drying on his face, their job done. He was calm now as his fingers slid inside his pocket and pulled out the charm.

The sunlight slanted through the window and struck the silver surface, spinning off in a prismatic display that made Xander blink. His hand moved towards his mouth and the scent of cherries filled the room. His thoughts caught at something half heard in his dreams, something Spike had whispered, when he’d been too sleepy to respond.

“’My only love, sprung from my only hate.’”

‘Love’? His hand fell back.

New Orleans. Saturday.

Spike stood outside Drusilla’s room, curtly questioning the vampire who had been caring for her while he was away.

“So she’s been eating then? Good. She’ll need her strength. Bring me someone fresh. I’m not going out again tonight and I’m hungry.”

The vampire nodded and walked away, leaving Spike staring at the door. In his hand was a gift for his princess – a necklace the Master had given to him, studded with garnets like little drops of blood.  He allowed himself a moment longer, touching the memories with a gentle hand, savouring each sound, each glance, each caress, regretting nothing but the last look of hurt as the boy left. No, not even that. Then he opened his hands and let them fall away.

“Could never hurt you, Dru,” he murmured to himself just before he pushed open the door.

Drusilla was sitting up in bed, her cheeks a delicate pink, still frail, still fading, but with an eager, tremulous smile on her lips. “Spike! I knew you would come back today. I felt you moving to me, so fast.” Her face fell. “Did you see him? Did you meet him?”

“The Master was kind, my sweet. Eventually. Here – he sent you this.” Spike laid the necklace across the white blanket, expecting Drusilla to catch it up in delight. Instead she ignored it, pouting at him.

“You know I don’t mean him! The boy, the betrayer...tell me.”

Her voice was sharp and Spike frowned, puzzled. “Don’t know what you mean, love. What boy?”

Drusilla looked at him with quick suspicion, her fingers fluttering out to touch him and bring him closer. Concentrating, her eyes veiled with long lashes, she delved into his mind, peevishly stabbing and prodding and then looked at him with surprised pleasure. “You didn’t betray me...It didn’t matter but I think I’m glad you didn’t. I would have had to kill him and that would have been tiresome.”

Spike shook his head, smiling indulgently. “Dru, love, there’s only you. Only ever will be you. Now don’t I get a kiss?”

He leaned in to kiss her, gently brushing her pale lips with his.

“You taste of cherries,” she murmured drowsily, snuggling back down.

Sunnydale School. September 29 1997

Xander struggled in Angel’s grasp as he was dragged towards Spike, an unwilling prop in his plan to infiltrate the besieged school. His thoughts were chaotic, desperate. Since he’d heard that Spike was back he’d known this meeting was inevitable but this wasn’t quite how he’d imagined it. As Angel grabbed his hair, yanking on it to expose his neck, thrusting him at Spike, he waited for the moment when the ice blue eyes would warm with recognition and he would be exposed as the traitorous, perverted, addicted, besotted fool he was. He looked up at Spike, twisting his head awkwardly, and slowly the fear, the anticipation and the terror drained from him leaving - nothing.

The blue eyes were empty of recognition. It wasn’t an act; Spike wasn’t protecting him. He just didn’t know him. Throughout the fight that followed, and the lonely walk home, Xander clung to one thought, letting it set the rhythm of his steps, letting it carry him along. The words drummed endlessly in his mind until they lost all meaning, all sense.

“Tonight. I’ll take it tonight.”

He knew he wouldn’t.

The End

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